Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run (New York Times)
Mr. Bannon’s exit, the latest in a string of high-profile West Wing shake-ups, came as Mr. Trump is under fire for saying that “both sides” were to blame for last week’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. Critics accused the president of channeling Mr. Bannon when he equated white supremacists and neo-Nazis with the left-wing protesters who opposed them.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”Mr. Bannon’s outsized influence on the president, captured in a February cover of Time magazine with the headline “The Great Manipulator,” was reflected in the response to his departure.
Conservatives groused that they lost a key advocate inside the White House and worried aloud that Mr. Trump would shift left, while cheers erupted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when headlines about Mr. Bannon’s ouster appeared. Both the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average immediately rose, though they ended the day slightly down.
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His removal is a victory for Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general whose mission is to impose discipline on White House personnel. A caustic presence in a chaotic West Wing, Mr. Bannon frequently clashed with other aides as they fought over trade, the war in Afghanistan, taxes, immigration and the role of government.
In an interview this week with The American Prospect, Mr. Bannon mocked his colleagues, including Gary D. Cohn, one of the president’s chief economic advisers, saying they were “wetting themselves” out of a fear of radically changing trade policy.
Mr. Trump had recently grown weary of Mr. Bannon, complaining to other advisers that he believed his chief strategist had been leaking information to reporters and was taking too much credit for the president’s successes. The situation had become untenable long before Friday, according to advisers close to Mr. Trump who had been urging the president to remove Mr. Bannon; in turn, people close to Mr. Bannon also were urging him to step down.
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By Friday night, Mr. Bannon was already back at the far-right Breitbart News, chairing an editorial meeting at the organization he helped run before joining Mr. Trump’s campaign and where he can continue to advance his agenda.
Mr. Bannon can still wield influence from outside the West Wing. He believes he can use his perch at Breitbart — which has given a platform to the so-called alt-right, a loose collection of activists, some of whom espouse openly racist and anti-Semtic views — to publicly pressure the president….